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Pathway #14: Context

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User story: the Postmistress and her Lumia

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User story: the Postmistress and her Lumia

It speaks to the modest success of Windows Phone that to see one in the wild still feels rare.

I walked into the local Post Office the other day and, amid the clutter of parcels behind the counter, there it was: a Lumia 925 in grey. It belonged, I presume, to the Postmistress serving customers. She was the only member of staff in this small branch.

The phone was one of the models with the Lumia ‘Glance Screen’ feature, capable of displaying an ‘always on’ clock and notifications, but …

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Discussing Smart Design’s the ‘Internet of Why?’

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Discussing Smart Design’s the ‘Internet of Why?’

The internet of things, ubiquitous computing, wearables and context-awareness are just a few of the monikers being applied to the frontier where digital endeavour meets the physical world.

Smart Design coined another term at its October 2014 event in London: the ‘Internet of Why?’. It feels closer than most to accurately describing the way connectivity, data and computing could mediate users’ relationship with the world. Alas, the process of defining terminology apt for a specific moment…

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A predictably better user experience

Microsoft Research has suggested a method to overcome the latency which can hamper the user experience of network-hosted services, such as connected Xbox games. The DeLorean approach relies on predicting user behaviour so that servers can calculate several possible future outcomes concurrently. By combining these predicted outcomes with bandwidth compression, the server delivers multiple possible outcomes to the client in advance, thereby masking the latency incurred by network transport. T…

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Close yet digitally unseen

Google Now recently gained the ability to search your email for hotel reservations and automatically suggest restaurants near where you are staying. Microsoft’s Cortana has integrated with Foursquare to do something similar. Both hold the promise of greater convenience enabled by digital technology. Indeed, I’m sure it won’t be long before both are capable of learning you prefer Italian food while traveling, booking you a table, hailing you a taxi and pinging you as your ride arrives outsi…

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Failing to engage users through NFC, QR & SMS

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Failing to engage users through NFC, QR & SMS

What’s wrong in the photo above?

To provide some context, it is a scene I encountered on a train journey in the UK, where there was an advertisement positioned on the wall facing my seat, accompanied by an ‘action point’ with an NFC tag, QR code and instructions on how to send an SMS to a shortcode.

The action point invites users to ‘Engage With This Poster’, but I’d guess it has led to no ‘engagements’ whatsoever for a few simple reasons:

  • The NFC tag did not work
  • The …
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Trusting in the limited appeal of Google Glass

My name is Ivy Ross… I look forward to answering the seemingly simple, but truly audacious questions Glass poses: Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us?

The newly appointed head of Google Glass is posing the right questions in her first statement. However, she faces a huge challenge – indeed, a potentially unwinnable challenge – t…

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Trusting & mocking the cars of the future

Google is taking journalists on test rides in its self-driving cars. It is a necessary step as it tries to shape public opinion in favour of a digital experience which requires far greater user trust than anything it has attempted previously.

In a fascinating insight into the stages of building trust, this Reuters article records how members of the public react upon seeing the cars:

Other drivers who spot the self-driving car often swerve in front of it and tap on their brakes, hoping to ga…

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Summary of the 12th MEX: sensory interfaces, context aware UX, new form factors & better user research

By Marek Pawlowski

Mobile as the new old

For me, this was the first MEX where ‘mobile’ – understood as a device alone – started to feel traditional and old. From the outset in 2005, the heart of the MEX community has always been in the mobile technology industry, but it feels like we’re evolving to a new understanding of digital experiences, where to constrain them within a single class of device – mobile phones – would exclude a much wider set of possibilities.

Expanding the inte…

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MEX Sessions: Peter Whale on principles of context aware UX

Peter Whale came to MEX in September 2012 with a deep understanding of the technology enablers for creating context aware experiences, but his talk also focused on translating these possibilities into 4 very human design principles. Building on knowledge gained leading product management at Qualcomm, Peter’s talk examines how sensors, chips and software is enabling more personal and responsive computing.

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MEX Sessions: Sabrina Majeed on context aware UX

Sabrina Majeed came to MEX in September 2012 to share practical lessons for building context aware digital experiences. Using knowledge acquired during her time working on social TV start-up Miso, Majeed’s session explores different methods of understanding user context and, crucially, how to build a user experience which succeeds even when very little is known about user behaviour. She describes her principles of building context aware experiences which gradually enhance, rather than t…

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